We follow Malin up the stairs and at the top we seem to have reached one of the peaks. The wind blows a gale above us and through the walls around us. Around the corner we can see a courtyard of some sort, probably linking the towers, but our immediate concern is the huge male frost giant sat opposite us with a six foot hawk on a perch next to him!
The giant looks up at us and yells “oh for Fogluck’s sake will nobody keep the riffraff out?”
He then jumps up and rushes out into the courtyard, quickly returning, followed by a huge owlbear!
“Get the bird!” Kurrek yells, as he charges at the hawk while transforming into the herald of winter. Swinging his warhammer he summons a wall of mud that immobilises it and covers it. They bird screams in pain and Kurrek swings again slamming it around off its perch.
Knowing the hawk could be used to summon reinforcements, I rush in and hit it with some particularly cutting words, pulling it towards myself and hitting it with my long sword and an inspiring success. I then trigger my dimensional step and pull Theseus next to the bird, his mighty hit kills it in a cloud of feathers.
From the opposite end of the short corridor we’re in we see a dwarf jumping up and down behind a cell door shouting ‘help’
The owlbear charges in from the courtyard and claws at Theseus, raking across his armour. The minotaur is thrown across the room into a wall, slumping down prone. It then slashes at me with another claw, raking across my chest armour. I’m stunned as I feel ribs breaking.
Pulling himself back up from the floor, Theseus charges at the beast with his head lowered and goring it with his horns. It screeches and throws him backwards again. By this point Malin has charged in and misses with his first swing, but the return swing of his spear stabs the owlbear in its side.
Regdar runs towards me chanting some healing words and I feel bone magically knitting together, but I’m still stunned from the hit.
Obviously annoyed at the loss of his hawk, but seeing the danger of a fire casting magic user, the frost giant rushes across and fires a freezing bolt from his staff at Erevan, covering him in ice and immobilising him.
Kurrek steps up to the owlbear and slams it with his warhammer. Frost forms across its feathers and it slows its movement.
Erevan casts his fire shield and phase steps me into the comfy chair the frost giant was previously sat in. He then calls down a huge wake of fire across the owlbear. The monster screams in pain, blasting Regdar and Theseus, throwing them backwards. It then stands up and charges at Kurrek trying to disembowel him. The force of the attack stuns the dwarf!
Theseus clobbers it with his thunder fall skill, knocking it prone and pushing it backwards. He then hits it with oak hammer rage. It screams in pain again, blasting Theseus back a step.
Called by the frost giant, two stone giants run in and start throwing rocks. One at Erevan which slams him on the side of the head and another at Theseus which bounces harmlessly off his head.
Dodging the flying rocks, Malin strikes another critical blow on the owlbear, skewering it through the heart and killing it.
Regdar creates a wall of whirring blades across the corridor under the frost giant who takes cuts from the holy knives. The frost giant charges at the stunned Kurrek hitting him with his staff knocking him backwards. Frost then bursts out around him freezing most of us to the spot!
“So, you can’t even fight fair against little people eh? I think your courage might have thawed out dripping beard!” I mock the frost giant’s courage with my Satire of Bravery call, the words taking magical form and slashing it, throwing it back into the stone giants. It’s followed by a fireball from Erevan which blasts into a stone giant and hits the frost giant.
Trying to use one of the exploding geodes we found earlier, Theseus grabs one from his pack but drops it in front of himself and is knocked out by the blast!
More rocks fly from the stone giants, missing Theseus but bouncing off Erevan’s shield.
Easily dodging a searing light cast by Regdar, the frost giant moves towards me, taking damage from my chant and showing obvious pain. He points his staff at me and fires a bolt of ice. I’m frozen to the spot again, wincing at the pain. However Kurrek jumps towards him, pushing him into the wall of slicing blades. I then chant my victim of the Feywild verse and knack for success simultaneously, hitting the frost giant and teleporting Malin next to him and causing the captured dwarf to be teleported out of the cell and into the fight.
The captured dwarf is wearing rags and looking a bit unkempt. She looks around and blinks at the sudden freedom. Ducking under the frost giant, she tries to run for a chest behind us but is struck by its staff. Surviving the blow, she throws open the chest and starts rummaging through it, grabbing bits of dwarven gear. Defending her, Kurrek strikes back wildly.
A stone giant steps forward easily dodging Malin’s strike and sweeps his huge stone club around hitting the gnome.
The other stone giant also ducks past Kurrek attacking us at the back of the corridor. Swinging at myself, Erevan and Regdar. The club glances off my shoulder and smashes into the side of my helm, hurting me badly. Erevan’s fire shield burns the giant as it attacks.
Another stone giant enters from the courtyard, throwing a rock that hits Kurrek
Healed by prayers from Regdar, Malin makes his unfettered fury stance and attacks the ice Giant hitting it hard. Trying to step out of Regdar’s flying blades, the frost giant is evicerated, blood and gore splattering the stone giant next to him, which looks down at the body in horror.
“We come in peace!” Kurrek yells, as he stands firm, but they don’t seem convinced.
Seeing the stone giants still trying to attack, the dwarf almost glows with cold and blasts a freezing wind painfully freezing them to the floor.
Using my words of friendship I hold my hand up and shout “Hold! Our fight isn’t with the stone giants! We have already negotiated a peace with the hill giants”
“Lower your weapons and we will bring you to Belastroya” yells one of the giants.
We agree, lowering our weapons and releasing them from the ice. A giant runs off to fetch someone.
The new dwarf introduces herself as Danica of clan Nad.
“I was sent here by the clans several months ago with 10 stone masons. The masons were ushered down into the warrens while I had discussions with Belastroya the castelan (and Thane Arnak’s sister) about the castle defences when I was grabbed and thrown into a cell. I’ve not seen any of the dwarves since. “
According to Danica, Belastroya was asking questions about the strength of the dwarven defences and when the dwarf carefully fed her false information. Belastroya had her thrown in a cell.
“They’ve been tunneling for a while now” Danica tells us, “They seem to be looking for something underground”
I politely ask about the health of Thane Arnak and the stone giants look shifty to one another and say he is well and in his throne room below.
Danica tells us that Belastroya is behind all of the attacks and the head of the Hochhochian peace delegation has turned traitor and is helping them.
From what she has heard, Thane Arnak has gone mad and he and Belastroya now hate all non giants. Apparently he has been corrupted by some artefact that they dug up. A purple egg shaped stone.
She believes the ice giant was there as an emissary. She finds it odd that the frost and stone giants were working together.
One last thing. Esevon. The Adamantine dragon. She guards the rear entrance. Belastroya appeases her with offerings of food and treasure.
More giants arrive and escort us across the courtyard, under the gaze of nervous looking stone giants to Belastroya’s tower.